“He didn’t feel any pain. He died instantly.” That was how she told me that my father was dead. I was 14.
“Trying to be cool about it, I stood next to a woman with gravitas who immediately turned to me and asked me to be her partner. She told me she’d been dancing tango as a follow for three years and was now learning to lead. And so yours truly, a middle-aged butch dyke, happily took the position of follow to a 20-something lead in an A-line dress.”
“My queerness was exactly the durable and malleable fabric that brought me here to this love. I am so grateful to finally have this powerful Black revolutionary in my life, I am thrilled about the quickly manifesting potential of our combined energy that nurtures creativity both for ourselves, our kin and our community.”
“I am a person with restricted growth (or little person or person with dwarfism), and I am queer… I did not come out as queer until I was in my 30s. People asked me why it took so long… But the deeper answer is that accepting my disabled identity was necessary before I could accept my queer one, and for me this has been a long, hard fought struggle.”
“My friends who hadn’t left town took me to new restaurants and bars they had found during their fledgling adulthood. Strangers lived in what had been my home. The girl I loved in May wasn’t speaking to me. I had a wonderful time, but I learned the city wasn’t mine anymore.”
“I was simply a girl who thought she liked girls at one point in her life, but prayed it away, and now life was good. Right?”
“I began to step back. Not because of low confidence, or a fear of public speaking, or an inferiority complex — all of them were about my story, and my skin, and my inability to find a way to belong in spaces for people of color without first justifying and laboriously explaining both.”
Kelly cut off all her hair and started dating Katie. I started chasing around after a guy who looked like Ellen DeGeneres and trying to make sense of the mess in my brain.
“That being said, I’d like to live in a world someday where people don’t automatically assume my body looks and functions a certain way, that makes room for people like me and my experiences.”
“I miss contraband, kumbayahs, and those very few and far between moments where I felt like there was nothing that could stop us.”
“We pass down traditions and knowledge that are unintentionally green or sustainable. We do not call them ‘eco-friendly’ practices, we just do them. I call this passed down knowledge, Abuelita Knowledge because so much of this ‘new age’ practices are the ways in which my grandmas and elders live their lives.”
“It eventually stopped. I don’t know how long it went on for. I’m not sure where I live, but I know it’s not in my body; everything felt like nothing and I didn’t know where that place was.”
“Some days, I really just needed to curl up in a cozy plaid jacket and have all the homo feelings.”
But now my body, which had spent so many years letting me down and making decisions without my consent, had gone and done something absolutely right — and done it better. It had done something other people’s bodies, “healthy” bodies, hadn’t been able to.
It’s a boy, until and unless he tells us otherwise, I thought. It’s a boy who will be raised without gender roles. It’s a boy who will be defined by their heart and mind, not by the organs that happen to be between their legs. It’s a boy who will be loved wholly, deeply, and completely by the two women who created him.
4. You were so much prettier with long hair.
“I once had a life where I could go blocks, miles, months without a stranger standing in my way, saying, ‘Hey girl, where you goin’ in such a hurry?’ I want to take my personal space bubble to the shop and have it re-inflated to its original size, but that chapter of my life seems to be done.”
“After three hours of waiting, the director sits us on the couch amongst three or four other couples. We stare deeply into the camera. I hype myself up. Look into the camera like it is a lover, NO, a hamburger! Look at the camera like it is a hamburger.”
While I started getting some hints that I was trans at an early age, my roots didn’t really take hold until I was older. Here are some of the stops along the way.
My family used to joke that only white people need therapy. Meanwhile, white academics told me that African-Americans merely fabricated ungrounded stigma around psychiatric help. No one ever tells you that the healthcare system is sick.